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and the watering of the furrows of our souls with the dew of heaven, to make them to bring forth fruit unto the Spirit and unto holiness'. The church sometimes dipt the catechumen three times, sometimes but once". Some churches use fire in their baptisms; so do the Ethiopians; and the custom was ancient in some places. And so in the other sacrament: sometimes they stood, and sometimes kneeled; and sometimes received it in the mouth, and sometimes in the hand; one while in leavened, another while in unleavened bread: sometimes the wine and water were mingled, sometimes they were pure; and they admitted some persons to it sometimes, which at other times they rejected : sometimes the consecration was made by one form, sometimes by another: and, to conclude, sometimes it was given to infants, sometimes not. And she had power so to do; for in all things, where there was not a commandment of Christ, expressed or implied in the nature and in the end of the institution, the church had power to alter the particulars as was most expedient, or conducing to edification. And although the after-ages of the church, which refused to communicate infants, have found some little things against the lawfulness, and those ages that used it, found out some pretences for its necessity; yet both the one and the other had liberty to follow their own necessities, so in all things they followed Christ. Certainly there is infinitely more reason, why infants may be communicated, than why they may not be baptized. And, that this discourse may revert to its first intention, although there is no record extant of any church in the world, which, from the apostles' days inclusively to this very day, ever refused to baptize their children; yet if they had upon any present reason, they might also change their practice, when the reason should be changed: and therefore, if there were nothing else in it, yet the universal practice of all churches, in all ages, is abundantly sufficient to determine us, and to legitimate the practice, since Christ hath not forbidden it. It is a sufficient confutation to disagreeing people, to use the words of St. Paul, “ We have no such
| Aqna refectionis, et baptismi lavacrum, quo anima sterilis ariditate peccati ad bonos fructus inferendos divinis muneribus irrigatur. -- Cassiodor. m. xxiii. ps. 2.
η "Εκοι τα ώτα των σφραγισαμένων κατεσημήναντο, dixit Ηeracleon apud Clem. Alex.
custom, nor the churches of God," to suffer children to be strangers from the covenant of promise, till they shall enter into it as Jews or Turks may enter; that is, by choice and disputation. But although this alone, to modest and obedient, that is, to Christian spirits, be sufficient; yet this is more than the question did need : it can stand upon
its proper foundation.
“Quicunque parvulos recentes ab uteris matrum baptizandos negat, anathema esto". He that refuseth to baptize his infants, shall be in danger of the council.”
O holy and eternal Jesus, who, in thine own person, wert pleased to sanctify the waters of baptism, and, by thy institution and commandment, didst make them effectual to excellent purposes of grace and remedy; be pleased to verify the holy effects of baptism to me and all thy servants, whose names are dedicated to thee in an early and timely presentation, and enable us with thy grace to verify all our promises, by which we were bound then, when thou didst first make us thy own portion and relatives in the consummation of a holy covenant. O be pleased to pardon all those indecencies and unhandsome interruptions of that state of favour, in which thou didst plant us by thy grace, and admit us by the gates of baptism: and let that Spirit, which moved upon those holy waters, never be absent from us, but call upon us, and invite us, by a perpetual argument and daily solicitations and inducements to holiness; that we may never return to the filthiness of sin, but, by the answer of a good conscience, may please thee, and glorify thy name, and do honour to thy religion and institution in this world, and may receive the blessings and the rewards of it in the world to come, being presented to thee and spotless in the day of thy power, when thou shalt lead thy church to a kingdom and endless glories. Amen.
n Conc. Milevit. can. 2.
APPENDIX AD SECT. IX. No. 3. OF JESUS BEING
Christ's Prayer at his Baptism.
ܬܐ ܐܵܢܵܐ ܡܢ ܐܘܿ ܐܒܐ ܐܝܟ ܨܒܝܢܟ ܗܘܝܬ ܒܪܢܫܐ ܘܟܠܢ ܒܕ ܐܬܝܠܕܬ ܡܢ ܒܬܘܠܬܐ ܘܠܕܡܐ ܠܗܫܐ. ܡܠܝܬ ܗܠܝܢ ܕܒܝܢܐ ܐܢܫܐ. ܘܢܛܪܬ ܙܦ ܫܡܠܝܬ ܦܘܩܕܢܐ ܘܪ̈ܐ1ܐ ܘܛܘܦܤܐ ܕܢܡܘܣܐ ܘܗܝܐ ܠܡܕܬ ܘܛܝܒܬܗ̇ ܠܩܥܡܘܕܗܝ ܕ݁ܬܗܘܐ ܟܕܤܐ ܪܘܚܢܝܬܐ ܕܡܘܠܕܐ ܠܒܢܝܢܫܐ. ܚܕܬ ܐܝܬ ܘܐ ܒܩܐ ܕܝܘܚܢܢ ܗܘܐ ܐܚܪܝܐ ܕܒܗ̈ܢܐ ܢܟܠܘ̈ܣܝܐ: ܗܘܢܐ ܐܬܚܙܐ ܐܢܐ ܩܕܡܐ ܕܒܗ̈ܢܐ ܐܘܓ̈ܝܠܐ. ܐܢܬ ܕܝܢ ܐܘܿ ܐܒܐ ܒܝܕ ܨܠܘܬܐ ܕܝܠܝ ܦܬܚ ܫܡܝܐ ܘܫܕܪ ܪܘܚܟ ܩܕܚܐ ܠܠ ܟܪܤܐ ܗܕܐ ܕܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ. ܘܐܝܟ ܕܝܪܐ ܟܟܪܣܐ ܕܒܬܘܠܝܬܐ ܘܓܫܡܢܝ ܡܢܗ̇. ܗܢܐ ܚܪܐ ܟܟܪܤܐ ܗܕܐ ܕܡܥܡܘܕܗܝ ܘܢܩܕܫܝܗ̇ ܘܢܨܘܪ ܠܟܢܝ̈ܚܐ. ܘܢܗܠܕ ܐܢܘܢ ܡܢܗܿ ܒܢ̈ܝܐ ܚ̈ܕܬܐ ܘܢܥܒܕ ܐܢܗ ܒܢ̈ܝܐ ܕܝܠܟ ܘܐܚܐ ܕܝܠܝ ܘܢܪ̈ܘܬܐ ܕܡܠܒܘܬܐ ܘܐܝܕܐ ܕܠܐ ܐܬܫܠܨܝܘ ܠܡܥܒܕ ܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܕܢܡܘܣܐ ܕܡܢ ܐܗܕܘܢ ܠܕܡܐ ܠܝܘܚܢܢ ܢܫܒܚܘܢ ܠܝܡܠܒܕ :ܒܗ̈ܢܐ ܕܪܝܐܬܝܩܝ ܚܕܬܐ: ܗܠܝܢ ܕܗܿܘܐ ܐܢܐ ܠܗܘܢ ܪܝܫܝܬܐ ܘܩܕܡܝܐܒܗܕܐ ܨܠܘܬܐ ܘܒܠ ܐܡܬܝ ܕܡܥܩܕܝܢ ܘܡܨܠܝܢ ܠܘܬܟ ܘܫܳܙܶܠܝܢ ܫܕܪ ܪܘܚܐ. ܩܕܝܫܐ ܥܠ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ ܕܒܗ ܠܡܕܝܢ ܒܕ ܗܫܐ ܠܘܬܝ ܡܠܬܚܕܐܓܠܝܐܝܬ ܗܘ ܪܘܚܐ ܬܬܝܕܠ ܕܠܘܬܗܘܢ ܒܣܝܐܢܬ ܢܚܬ ܘܫܠܟܒܠܐ ܒܐܢ̈ܕܝܗܘܐ ܬܦܡܫܬܐ ܕܕܝܐܬܝܩܝ ܕܬܐ܇ ܕܡܛܠܬܗ ܗ̇ܘܝܬ ܒܪܢܫܐ. ܘܐܝܟ ܪܝ ܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܩܠܨܠܐ ܐܢܐ ܩܕܡܝܟ ܀
Christ's Prayer at his Baptism. O Father, according to the good pleasure of thy will, I am servance, have performed all thy commandments, the mysteries and types of the law : and now truly I am baptized; and so have I ordained baptism, that from thence, as from the place of spiritual birth, the regeneration of men may be accomplished : and as John was the last of the legal priests, so am I the first of the evangelical. Thou therefore, O Father, by the mediation of my prayer, open the heavens, and from thence send thy Holy Spirit upon this womb of baptism ; that as he did untie the womb of the virgin, and thence form me, so also he would loose this baptismal womb, and so sanctify it unto men, that from thence new men may be begotten, who may become thy sons, and my brethren, and heirs of thy kingdom. And what the priests under the law, until John, could not do, grant unto the priests of the New Testament, (whose chief I am in the oblation of this prayer,) that whensoever they shall celebrate baptism, or pour forth prayers unto thee, as the Holy Spirit is seen with me in open vision, so also it may be made manifest, that the same Spirit will adjoin himself in their society a more secret way, and will by them perform the ministries of the New Testament, for which I am made a man; and as the high priest, I do offer these prayers in thy sight.
and from the time, in which I was born of a made a man; virgin, unto this day, I have finished those things, which are agreeing to the nature of man; and, with due ob
a Hanc orationem transcripsit et transmisit eruditissimus vir, et linguarum Orientalium apprimè gnarus, Dud. Loftus, J. U. D. et Juris Civilis Professor publicus in Academia Dubliniensi apud Hibernos, professor linguarum Orientalium apud eosdem.
This prayer was transcribed out of the Syriac Catena, upon the third chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, and is, by the author of that Catena, reported to have been made by our blessed Saviour immediately before the opening of the heavens at his baptism : and that the Holy Spirit did descend upon him, while he was thus praying: and for it he cites the authority of S. Philoxenus. I cannot but foresee, that there is one clause in it, which will be used as an objection against the authority of this prayer; viz. “ as John was the last of the legal priests :” for he was no priest at all, nor ever officiated in the temple, or at the Mosaic rites. But this is nothing : because, that the Baptist was of the family of the priests, his father Zachary is a demonstration; that he did not officiate, his being employed in another ministry is a sufficient answer; that he was the last of the priests is to be understood in this sense, that he was the period of the law, the common term between the law and the
Gospel ; by him the Gospel was first preached solemnly, and therefore in him the law first ended. And as he was the last of the prophets, so he was the last of the priests : not but that, after him, many had the gift of prophecy, and some did officiate in the Mosaical priesthood; but that his office put the first period to the solemnity of Moses's law; that is, at him the dispensation evangelical did first enter.
That the ministers of the Gospel are here called priests, ought not to be a prejudice against this prayer in the persuasions of any men ; because it was usual with our blessed Saviour to retain the words of the Jews, his countrymen, before whom he spake, that they might by words, to which they were used, be instructed in the notice of persons and things, offices and ministries evangelical, which afterwards were to be represented under other, that is, under their proper names.
And now all that I shall say of it is this: 1. That it is not unlikely but our blessed Saviour prayed, when he was baptized, and when the Holy Ghost descended upon him ; not only because it was an employment symbolical to the grace he was to receive, but also to become to us a precedent by what means we are to receive the Holy Spirit of God. 2. That it is very likely our blessed Lord would consecrate the waters of baptism to those mysterious ends whither he designed them, as well as the bread and chalice of the holy supper. 3. That it is most likely the Easterlings did preserve a record of many words and actions of the holy Jesus, which are not transmitted to us. 4. It is certain that our blessed Lord did do and say many more things, than are in the holy Scriptures; and that this was one of them, we have the credit of this ancient author, and the authority of St. Philoxenus. However, it is much better to make such good use of it as the matter and piety of the prayer will minister, than to quarrel at it by the imperfection of uncertain conjectures.
END OF THE FIRST PART.